04/24/07 31 W, 1 I - + 14 - 10 Suds

This Firehouse article links to video footage of a new Chicago high-expansion foam unit in use. Ah, memories of Raleigh's two foam trucks. They've been gone, what, fifteen years now?

That Chicago unit is pretty damn cool!!!
Silver - 04/25/07 - 10:49

Too bad we couldn’t get one at RFD because Chicago already has one…hahahaha!!! Remember, can’t duplicate bigger cities, that would be silly!!!!
Guest555 - 04/25/07 - 12:08

^Actually, Raleigh used to have one. But Raleigh didn’t need it then and still don’t now so they got rid of it.
pal - 04/26/07 - 07:36

They use to have one? Or, was it a pick up truck that carried buckets? I think it’s great to be reactive….
guest555 - 04/26/07 - 08:59

If Pal Was Referring To Foam 12, It Definetly Wasnt A Pickup. Guest, Rfd Shouldnt Be Wasting Its Funds On Apparatus Just Because It Is Cool. I Guess They Should Get A Helicopter Too, Because That Would Be Proactive.
eric - 04/26/07 - 11:49

Such curious comments. In 1965 or abouts, there was a fire in Cameron Village. A local high-ex foam system dealer heard the thing on his radio and brought a high-ex unit (on a trailer) to the scene. It was used to extinguish the fire. CV owner Willie York was so impressed that he bought one for Raleigh and with the request/restriction that same be stationed nearby. Raleigh bought a second unit a year later and it was housed at Station 1. These pick-up truck units remained in service through the early 1990s. They were most effective for basement or other difficult, interior fires.
LJM - 04/26/07 - 12:00

I remember Foam 12, an old LaFrance (then a Mack) I believe. Did they ever use those pick up truck style units? I say hold off on the chopper for now. Five extra ladders would be nice though!!!
Silver - 04/26/07 - 12:53

I know of twice that Foam Unit 1 was used. Both times on basement fires in residential fires where there was ‘who-knows-what’ in the basement, including ammunition. The basements opened directly to the outside, so the long tube was placed at the door and it was cranked up. The Hi-X foam filled the basement in a few minutes and extinguished the fire. No more water-type damage than using hoselines, and no one actually had to make an attack. They also took one to Enloe HS in 1974 when there was a fire in the wood shop. The fire was extinguished before arrival.
DJ (Email) - 04/26/07 - 13:00

The aforementioned equipment dealer was Gene Ogburn, who also founded the Fairview Fire Department. Cameron Village also had an underground area later used (and probably earlier used) as retail and commercial space. Plus Penny’s and a couple other stores had basement areas. Photos from that era show the foam units used for other purposes. They once sudsed the car of the Durham Fire Chief. It was also used at a train wreck toward Wake Forest, as an attempted (but failed) extinguishing agent. By the early 1990s, RFD also utilized a foam transporter. This was one of the 1960s American LaFrance pumpers with foam cannister stacked in the hose bed. Later replaced by an older Mack pumper, these foam units were discontinued a few years ago.
Legeros - 04/26/07 - 16:34

i am with silver. i am all for having my own traditions but if we are going to take a page from a larger dept lets get some things we need like some more ladders. If raleigh can play the cards right they have a great tool in RDU-CFR no need for another specialized unit to gather dust. I love the RFD but foam 12, first the La france then the mack were nothing more than fancy pick up trucks. They could not even pump water.
Porter - 04/26/07 - 17:07

Special units versus added ladders is apples versus oranges, I believe. Converted foam haulers cost nothing to purchase. No personnel costs either. Add a ladder company, however, and there’s a chunk of change for the personnel and/or the apparatus, if bought new. I dare say (dare! dare!) a Chicago-style foam unit, bought new, is probably one-tenth the expense of adding a ladder company. Ergo, apples versus oranges.
Legeros - 04/26/07 - 18:19

A foam unit may be a fraction of the immediate price, but you have to realize A)a ladder truck would be used everyday, foam unit maybe once a month. B)the conversion of the truck may cost nothing but foam itself is expensive. C)we all bitch about duplicating units so why duplicate CFR?
Yes...but... - 04/26/07 - 22:32

Agreed Mike but every penny spent towards something we do not need is a penny further from what we do. No doubt the stuff should be mobile. Fill one of the trailers with it and hitch it behind a mini pumper. How many years did we carry the specialized rescue equipment that way?
Porter - 04/26/07 - 22:41

It’s a known fact, we are short when it comes to ladder comapnies. The “powers that be” are trying to resolve that. Granted that RDU-CFR needs an escort due to their size, they might not be practical. We used them in Apex years ago, but it took some time to get them to the scene. If we can think outside the box, all the new Pierce’s have Class A on them. SR2 is loaded down with buckets of the white stuff, let’s use it before it expires!!

Look at the buildings too. I know that Chicago, NY, Philly and DC have buildings that are so old and cut up that it’s insane to go in due to structural instability. With downtown development going on here, either our old ones’ are being torn down, retro-fitted with sprinklers, or at the very least being cleaned up. The downtown units are good about getting out of the house quick, and with an aggressive attack most can be brought under control rather quickly (if they are reported quickly). Porter would know about those foam units, he was at 12 when one was there.

A new hi-expansion foam unit would be nice, but we’ll get the biggest bang for our buck with a few more ladder companies. It’s called “the cost of doing business”, and if a ladder company is expected to operate like one should, then we need more in Raleigh before we get spaced out too far apart. You can relocate units all you want, but eventually it’s time to add some, and I know they’re trying. Maybe start charging impact fees is the answer to help foot the bill?
Silver - 04/26/07 - 23:05

I wasn’t referring to Foam 12. I was referring to what I guess was called Foam unit 5. http://legeros.com/ralwake/gallery/appar..
I just noticed Mike put a different picture of same vehicle on this page already.
pal - 04/27/07 - 10:20

pal, there were two of them, 1 and 5. F/U 5 was on an International p/u and F/U 1 was on a Dodge p/u.
DJ (Email) - 04/27/07 - 13:26

Sorry fire guys. City Council decided today to spend $11 million to dress up the plaza on Fayetteville St. That would have been a bunch of nice aerials, some foam trucks, one County brush truck, and pay the lease on the helicopter for a few years
Concerned Taxpayer - 05/01/07 - 23:18

What would happen if citizens or fire guys (and gals) made their opinions known to City Council regarding aerials and foam trucks and other perceived needs? I presume that no one here has attended any meetings and presented citizen comments on the subject. (Sundry searching of the minutes documents, which I do every so often, hasn’t shown anything.) Would Those in Power sit up and take notice if one or more Concerned Taxpayers were there in person? Perhaps with handouts, or a presentation, or some other fact-based, attention-augmenting aids? Maybe it takes a citizen’s lobby or advocacy group. But that takes time and energy. And it draws public scrutiny. For those in uniform, it’s probably a minefield. No duh, there. But it can be done. Heck, anything can be done. It just requires the energy to make it happen.
Legeros - 05/02/07 - 04:32

You know, once upon a time, a small group of firefighters at a local then-not-so-international airport actually stood up and said “Hey, we have a problem!” They did not have decent turnout gear, radios to talk to their mutual aid, a decent station, only three folks on duty but four trucks, a crappy station, and a worn out POS for a rapid intervention vehicle mounted on a 1957 pick-up. Those 12 firefighters stood up and let their concerns be heard.

Well, there were some terrific quotes in the paper. The one that I remember was “Actually, the fire department is overstaffed, overtrained, over equipped, and over paid”. It went back and forth in the news.

So what happened? New radios came in. New tournout gear came in. A new rescue truck came in. We went from 3 persons per shift to 5 persons per shift (changed from 12 hour shifts to 24 hour shifts). We got a station renovation that included bunk rooms, a shower, a kitchen, and storage. Twelve people made it happen.

I remember the bumper stickers of the 70s- “200 Raleigh cops can’t be wrong”.

If you want something and you truly believe in it, you have to have the energy to make it happen. I am sure that fire administration wants more ladders, specialty units, etc. But there is only so much they can do.

My $0.02.
DJ (Email) - 05/02/07 - 10:04

City council just approved $21 million for the new City Plaza on Fayetteville St. (according to WRAL).
Silver - 05/02/07 - 11:45

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